2017 Reading Challenge: 8th Installment

-A book involving travel: Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams. This was book #5 in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. It involves travel…space travel, that is! “20 years on, the Guide falls into the hands of Arthur Dent’s daughter, Random, whose mother, unexpectedly to all concerned, is Trillian. Random journeys to an insignificant planet, whose entry in the Guide reads mostly harmless.” (Goodreads). A great conclusion to an entertaining series!!!

-A book set around a holiday other than Christmas: Bury Your Dead  by Louise Penny. This book takes place during Carnaval de Quebec, one of the world’s largest winter carnivals! The story doesn’t center around Carnaval, but it is mentioned a few times.  “Chief Inspector Armand Gamache has come to recover from an investigation gone hauntingly wrong. But violent death is inescapable, even in the apparent sanctuary of the Literary and Historical Society— where an obsessive historian’s quest for the remains of the founder of Quebec, Samuel de Champlain, ends in murder. Could a secret buried with Champlain for nearly 400 years be so dreadful that someone would kill to protect it?  Although he is supposed to be on leave, Gamache cannot walk away from a crime that threatens to ignite long-smouldering tensions between the English and the French. Meanwhile, he is receiving disquieting letters from the village of Three Pines, where beloved Bistro owner Olivier was recently convicted of murder. ‘It doesn’t make sense,’ Olivier’s partner writes every day. ‘He didn’t do it, you know.’ As past and present collide in this novel, Gamache must relive the terrible event of his own past before he can bury his dead.” (Goodreads). This was a good read, although it’s book #6 in a series that I’ve never read before so I found I didn’t know all the history and background behind all the characters. But it was entertaining. I’d read another book in this series.

-A book from a nonhuman perspective: Redwall  by Brian Jacques. This book was all about woodland creatures, specifically centering around mice and rats and the battle between them as the rats attempt to take over Redwall Abbey, home to the mice. Matthias the mouse leads the Redwall Abbey creatures, while Cluny the Scourge leads the ratpack. “Cluny is certain that Redwall will fall easily to his fearsome army – but he hasn’t bargained for the courage and strength of the combined forces of the Redwall mice, their loyal woodland friends.” This was a series that was recommended to me as something my boys would like to read when they get older. I read it first just to see what it’s like and found I really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.

-A book you bought on a trip: The House at Riverton  by Kate Morton. To be honest, I can’t remember exactly where I bought this book…but I think I bought it on a trip of sorts: to my hometown (20 mins away) on a visit to the local thrift store. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Lol. Anyway, this was another excellent book by Kate Morton (if you like her sort of story). Full of twists and turns and secrets…keeps you guessing until the very last pages! I’ve loved every one of her books! This one deals with Grace Bradley, a maid who works at Riverton and becomes intertwined in the lives of the Hartford sisters, Hannah and Emmeline. Then at a society party a young poet shoots himself and the three girls are the only witnesses to the event. When Grace is close to dying she goes back to Riverton and reawakens her memories of her time in that house.

-A book with an unreliable narrator: The Bookseller  by Cynthia Swanson. I would say this narrator was unreliable…because she was jumping back and forth between alternate lives/dreams of her. What is real? It was an intriguing read, but it was predictable and took a while to cover all the ground that it did. “Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped. Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.
Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?
As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined.” (Goodreads).

Litograph Bag

Do you use a specific bag for trips to the library? For me, I don’t think I’ve ever had a dedicated bag to library visits. I’ve always just grabbed a cloth bag that I also use for my grocery trips. With my numerous trips to the wonderful place of books, I decided it was time to invest in something special and treat myself to something like that. I came across this site: https://www.litographs.com/ The site describes its products as, “Classic and contemporary books you love, brought to life as beautiful literary products.” I knew I had found a wonderful place to shop and started browsing this site. They have other products besides totes, but I focused my search on the totes. Pictured below is the one that I chose!

It’s the Outlander design, and I simply love it! It’s very sturdy, it’s large enough to hold quite a number of books, and it’s such a beautiful design!! There are so many options to choose from, so everyone could probably find at least one product that would speak to them!

Here’s an example of what the print looks like up-close:

Let me just say, it makes the joy of going to the library even more joyful! 😉

2017 Reading Challenge: 7th installment

-A book with one of the four seasons in the title: Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. Meredith and Nina Whitson are as different as sisters can be. When their father dies, they find themselves alongside their mother who is cold and disapproving. As children their mother would sometimes tell them fairy tales at bedtime, and with the death of their father their mother promises to tell them the special fairy tale one last time…all the way to the end. As they listen to this story, the sisters finally understand who their mother is. This story is an excellent read.

-A book set during wartime: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne. This is the story of nine year-old Bruno, and his experience with meeting the boy in the striped pajamas. Bruno doesn’t understand why the boy is on the other side of a fence but they become friends as they learn about each others’ life. What an excellent story; and it’s set during WWII.

-A book involving a mythical creature: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets  by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay. This illustrated edition of HP #2 is simply beautiful. The wonderful words of Rowling combined with the lovely illustrations of Kay, leads to a wonderful book! The mythical creature involved in this story is the basilisk.

-A book by a person of colour: The Book of Negroes  by Lawrence Hill. “Abducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom―and of the knowledge she needs to get home. Sold to an indigo trader who recognizes her intelligence, Aminata is torn from her husband and child and thrown into the chaos of the Revolutionary War. In Manhattan, Aminata helps pen the Book of Negroes, a list of blacks rewarded for service to the king with safe passage to Nova Scotia. There Aminata finds a life of hardship and stinging prejudice. When the British abolitionists come looking for “adventurers” to create a new colony in Sierra Leone, Aminata assists in moving 1,200 Nova Scotians to Africa and aiding the abolitionist cause by revealing the realities of slavery to the British public. This captivating story of one woman’s remarkable experience spans six decades and three continents and brings to life a crucial chapter in world history.” (Goodreads)

-A bestseller from a genre you don’t normally read: A Voice in the Wind  by Francine Rivers. A genre I don’t normally read is Christian Fiction. I went through a phase years ago, and it’s not a genre that seems to be on my list a lot of the time. This book, though, is a favourite of mine and I’ve read this series (The Mark of the Lion) numerous times. This book “brings readers back to the first century and introduces them to a character they will never forget—Hadassah. Torn by her love for a handsome aristocrat, this young slave girl clings to her faith in the living God for deliverance from the forces of decadent Rome.” An excellent read!!

2017 Reading Challenge: 6th Installment

-A book you loved as a child: The Dark Is Rising  by Susan Cooper. “On his 11th birthday, Will Stanton learns that he is the last born of the Old Ones. At once, he is plunged into a quest for the six magical Signs that will one day aid in the final battle between the Dark and Light.” This book is #2 in The Dark Is Rising Sequence, in the junior fiction category. I remember reading this series/sequence when I was younger and absolutely loving it! One of my faves back then.

-A book that’s published in 2017: Hunted  by Meagan Spooner. An excellent re-telling of the Beauty and the Beast story, although it doesn’t include the enchanted items in the Beast’s castle. A must-read for fans of the fairy tale! This book was published this year and was just excellent.

-A book with a cat on the cover: The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes  by Bill Watterson. This is a collection of Calvin and Hobbes cartoons. I don’t usually read this type of book, but it just happened naturally that this was the choice of book for this prompt. We had recently visited the parents of a friend of ours who had passed away a while ago. The book had belonged to their son so now it had become theirs. My son borrowed it after our visit and read it numerous times…just loving it! He kept telling me I should read it. I didn’t really want to, but thought I should eventually. Then when I noticed that there is indeed a cat on the cover, I just knew that this was the book I had to read for this prompt! It was quite funny! What a pair, that Calvin and Hobbes!

-A book recommended by a librarian: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. Found this title on a librarian’s site of great books to read. “Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely. And then, one day, he was lost. Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes’ camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.” (Goodreads). An excellent story!

-An audiobook: Shopaholic to the Rescue  by Sophie Kinsella. I don’t ever “read” audiobooks, but since it was a part of this challenge I did! I found it quite enjoyable to use/read. Anyway, it’s book #8 in the Shopaholic series in which Becky and her group of friends/family go on a road trip to try to track down her dad. A good addition to the Shopaholic series.

2nd Annual “What My Friends Are Reading…”

Thought I’d do a post like this again by asking some friends what they’re reading right now. And all of you get to reap those benefits by exploring the variety of titles listed below. It seems as if we’re got a wide selection here: fiction, non-fiction, magazines, poetry…what a great list!! Thanks to everyone for taking the time to share with my readers and contribute to this post! I couldn’t have done it without you!

-Megan: The Rosie Effect  by Graeme Simison

-Amanda: What She Left Behind  by Ellen Marie Wiseman, and The Time Travelers Wife  Audrey Niffenegger

-Jeff: The Economist  (magazine)

-Lynnette: The Daughter  by Jane Shemilt

-Annica: All the Light We Cannot See  by Anthony Doerr, Simplicity Parenting  by Kim John Payne, and Family Driven Faith  by Voddie Baucham Jr

-Jen: Pharaoh  by Wilbur Smith

-Craig: The Rainmaker  by John Grisham

-Sara: The Giver series by Lois Lowry, and A Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L’engle

-Julie: I Do It With the Lights On  by Whitney Way Thore, Milk & Honey  by Rupi Kaur, and When Breath Becomes Air  by Paul Kalanithi

-Dylan: The Day I (Almost) Killed Two Gretzkies  by James Duthie

-Serena: The Painted Girls  by Cathy Marie Buchanan, and Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe

-Terrilyn: Seventh Day  by Bodie & Brock Thoene

-Doug: 3000 Degrees: The True Story of a Deadly Fire and the Men who Fought it  by Sean Flynn

-Nancy: Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

-Elizabeth: The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simison, Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

-Anonymous: Age of Myth by Michael J Sullivan

2017 Reading Challenge: 5th installment

-A book that’s becoming a movie in 2017: The Zookeeper’s Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman. This is a non-fiction book as it’s based on real-life happenings and diary excerpts about this story. During WWII in Warsaw, Poland, the zookeeper and his wife turned their zoo into a safe house and a stop on the Underground Railroad to save the lives of 300 Jews who had been imprisoned in the Warsaw Ghetto.

-A book you’ve read before that never fails to make you smile: Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone  by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay. Such a wonderful book, and this time I read the edition with the illustrations by Jim Kay. What beautiful additions to the story, I loved the illustrations that were included that really brought the story to life! So, this story always makes me smile, and my smile was even bigger this time around! I love Harry Potter!!

-A book with a red spine: Rebel Queen  by Michelle Moran. “When the British Empire sets its sights on India in the 1850s, it expects a quick and easy conquest. But when the British arrive in the Kingdom of Jhansi, expecting its queen to forfeit her crown, they are met with a surprise. Instead of surrendering, Queen Lakshmi raises two armies—one male, one female—and rides into battle like Joan of Arc. Although her soldiers are little match against superior British weaponry and training, Lakshmi fights against an empire determined to take away the land she loves. Told from the perspective of Sita, one of the guards in Lakshmi’s all-female army and the queen’s most trusted warrior.” (goodreads). This was a great book and was a historical even that I had never learned about. A great read for any fan of historical fiction. To choose this book for this prompt, I browsed the shelves at the library and explored those with a red spine. Pretty easy. This one caught my attention of all the red-spines I looked at.

-A book of letters: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. “A milestone in the history of popular theology. A masterpiece of satire, it entertains readers with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life and foibles from the vantage point of Screwtape, a highly placed assistant to “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging account of temptation–and triumph over it–ever written.” (goodreads). 

-A book with a month or day of the week in the title: The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright. “Their story begins with one letter on their wedding night, a letter from the groom, promising to write his bride every week—for as long they both shall live. Thirty-nine years later, Jack and Laurel Cooper die in each other’s arms. And when their grown children return to the family B&B to arrange the funeral, they discover thousands of letters. The letters they read tell of surprising joys and sorrows. They also hint at a shocking family secret—and ultimately force the children to confront a life-changing moment of truth .” (Goodreads). Obviously, this book has the day Wednesday in the title. The premise of this book sounded interesting so I chose it. Didn’t realize right away that it was in the Christian Fiction genre…it’s not my favourite genre, and the writing was typical for that genre, but it was an okay story.

Educate Ourselves!

I recently read a book of essays entitled In This Together: Fifteen Stories of Truth and Reconciliation. Check out my review here: https://red5sbooknook.wordpress.com/2017/02/17/in-this-together/

This book got me thinking about how much I actually know about residential schools and their history. I’ll admit I know the basics, but have never really studied it in-depth. It made me want to educate myself, and also to expose it to my kids so they’re brought up knowing something about this aspect of their country’s history. This led me to my library to explore whether there were children’s books about this topic that I could access. I was glad to discover that there were books available so I checked some out and brought them home. I read them first, before reading them to my kids…just so I could be somewhat prepared to explain/answer any questions that might come up. These are the two books that we read together:


These are written by Christy Jordan-Fenton & Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, with beautiful art by Gabrielle Grimard. These books are based on the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and some of her experiences with the residential school system. When I Was Eight is about Olemaun/Margaret’s desire to go to the school and what she experienced there. And, Not My Girl  is about her return home and settling back into her family and home and the changes that go with that. Both are excellent for children as an introduction to this aspect of history. I highly recommend them! The illustrations are wonderful, too, and really add something special to the story.

My kids and I had a great discussion after reading these books. They had questions, they were sad about some parts, and we talked through those questions and feelings so they could understand it to the best of their abilities for their ages (9 and 6). I will try to discuss this topic more frequently with my kids as they grow older, and look through more books so that we can educate ourselves.